Sunday, April 24, 2005

What you won't hear on the Sunday Morning talk shows

The first time I read this New York Sun story, I almost figured it was a put-on. I mean, it's got 'punchline' written all over it: Ted Kennedy's brother-in-law pleads guilty to political corruption related to Hillary Clinton's campaign, it's revealed that he's been a secret informant to the FBI for years, and oh, by the way, he's also under investigation for trying to lure young girls into his car using a fake police light. But it's not a joke--it's a real story.

And what a story! It's got corruption, Kennedys, secret informants, Clintons, even weird sexual allegations. You'd think it would be the lead headline from coast to coast.

But funny thing--you can't find it much of anywhere. It's nowhere to be seen at, even on the Politics page. It's not on the front of the New York Times website, and the only mention within the site is a canned AP story.

Gee, I thought the Times was supposed to be the 'newspaper of record,' with the best reporters in the world--they couldn't even spare one of them to cover a story involving the Democratic Party's two most prominent elected officials, Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton?

The Washington Post, allegedly the Times' biggest competitor for political news, doesn't mention the story at all. A search for "Raymond Reggie" at WaPo gets no relevant hits.

Golly, I wonder why not.

But have no fear, I'm sure Steve Lovelady and the Columbia Journalism review are on top of things, and will weigh in with a scathing Corey Pein condemnation in no time.

Of course, it'll be a condemnation of the Sun for daring to print the Reggie story in the first place...

Fili bluster

A field guide to the judicial filibuster brouhaha:


The Chimp that Stole Earth Day

I just can't seem to get into the Earth Day spirit this year. Between Easter, the death of Pope Torquemada and the subsequent election of Pope Hitler, the fundies have completely dominated the whole vernal equinox, turning into a great big psuedo-religious farce. I'm so burned out on religion that even the appearance in my emailbox of a very special Earth Day message from Steven Seagal failed to put me in a celebratory mood.

On the other hand, what's to celebrate, anyway? Our ecosystem is on the verge of collapse, thanks to Bush. His Big Oil Buddies are drilling in the once pristine Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge. The rotting corpses of dead CIA agents are polluting the once pristine waters of the Tigris River. Carcinogens are polluting the once pristine follicles of Jane Fonda's hair. The ice caps are melting, Mt. St. Helens is erupting, and human fingers are springing out of our once pristine chili. The whole wyrld is going to hell in a non-biodegradable handbasket and that CHIMP doesn't even give a damn. One would think that SElected peeResident in thiEF could find a little time in his busy schedule to come down off the mountain and celebrate an international celebration of peace and love with the little Whos of Whoville. But then again, he probably couldn't get Pat Robertson's permission.

One thing's for certain: a President Ralph Nader would never have been so consumed by superstitious religious beliefs that he'd be afraid to wear flowers in his hair and dance naked amongst the sacred ferns with the Elders of the Olde Way. Then again, Ralph Nader doesn't get his kicks pouring barrels of arsenic into our drinking supply.

My clinical depression notwithstanding, I did get up enough gumption to participate in some Earth Day activies. Every year, a bunch of us from Tampa Bay Hemp Products and Other Shit that Makes you Go Hmmmmmmm, like to spend the day doing something to make the world a greener place for our chemically lobotomized children - although every year Bush does his best to spoil it. Last year, we planted 30 young trees along a nearby riverbank. Overnight, Republicans crept in, gnawed down every single tree, and dragged them into the river. A week later, the entire parking lot was under a foot of water. If the destruction of just 30 trees was enough to melt the ice caps and flood our parking lot, just think of what Bush's wholesale destruction of entire forests are doing to our precious planet.

This year, we decided to chase away our doldrums by marching to city hall on our lunch break and having a Prayer Circle for Peace. There's a large lawn in front of the building, and we found a nice shady spot of grass unspoiled by man. But no sooner had we assumed the lotus position than a pair of undocumented landscapers began cursing at us in espaƱol.

"I think they want to mow the lawn," said Phil from Accounting.

"Fantastic," I spat. "Can't we spend just one day out of the year without devastating our precious natural resources?"

We ignored the unbelievers and continued our ceremony.

As Earth Day tradition dictated, I handed a small box of pine cones to the person immediately to my right in the pray circle, Peter from Marketing.

"Taketh a pine cone and eateth it," I instructed him, "for it is the flesh of Gaia. He who eateth the flesh of Gaia shall have breath like an air freshener for at least 12 hours."

Pete took a pine cone and passed the box down.

After everyone had patrook of a pine cone, I handed a recycled paper cup full of yellowish liquid to the person sitting at my left, Paul from Public Relations.

"Drinketh from this cup. For it is the blood of Gaia, and he who hath drinketh the blood of Gaia shall be blessed with severe stomach cramps, followed by an ambulance ride to the emergency room, and then total enlightment."

Paul took a small sip and quickly spat it out in disgust.

"WHAT IS THIS?" he cried. "CAT PISS?"

"Close," I told him. "It's Mountain Dew. Pass it down."

After everyone had sipped from the sacred chalice, I lead a non-denominational Earth Day prayer for world peace.

"Infinite Spirit, Grandfather, Grandmother, Father Sky, Earth Mother, Great Heavenly Uncle who Lives Under the Viaduct and Reeks of Malt Liqour," I began, "We gather here today to praise your creation and open our unworthy orifices to your holy guidance. Help us to understand and achieve our place in the cosmos—not at the center of it, but a balanced and more tolerant place slightly to the left of center, where every step we take becomes a prayer carried up to your excessively pierced ears on gossamer wing. Oh great purveyor of silly hats, give us the courage to live in harmony with the vast, vibrating, and occasionaly undulating ecosystem, joyfully singing the Song of Life, available on CD and cassette at most Tower Records locations, a small portion of the proceeds going towards the preservation and maintenance of Jane Fonda's pristine hair follicles. O Wondrous Father Trees, sacred elders of a gentle race, flatulators of the precious air we breathe: give unto us your precious gifts of fruit, so that we may pelt conservative speakers with them, and in so doing nibble upon your sacred leaves of tolerance. Show us the way towards mutual interrelatedness, cosmic interdependence, and the seamless procreation of generations of drooling idiots, so that life will not end in smog-choked skies blotting out the sun, but rather in an orgasmic utopia of clean air, healthy forests, wholesome water, inexpensive abortions, socialized health care, forced labor camps..."

"And casual sex!" Jerry in Marketing interrupted.

"...and casual sex," I continued, "for all critters and sub-critters great and small. Oh blessed Mother Starshine, nurture us in your metaphorical uterus, a hollow muscular organ located in the pelvic cavity of female mammals in which the fertilized egg implants and develops, so that we may become not your exploiters, but your loyal stewards, ending the immoral and unsanctioned-by-France wars that plague our us like rug burns on our pasty white thighs, and unite the peoples of all races, religions, and sex orientations together into one unified, collective Hive Mind of Love. We pray in the name of the Creator, Gunga Galunga...gunga -- gunga galunga...goonga, galunga..."

Before I could complete the final seven stanzas of Goonga Galungas, the fascist landcapers cranked up their lawnmower and began pushing it towards our prayer circle, rivers of decimated grass clippings spewing forth from it's metallic blowhole. The other members of the circle pressed their hands to their ears and wailed in pain, the horrendous screams of thousand of blades of grass being slaughtered to much for their gentle souls to bear.

"Bloodthirsty maniacs!!!" exclaimed Doug from Accounting.

"Murdering fascists!!" screeched Marge from Human Resources.

"I'm sitting in dog poop!" blubbered Al from Shipping.

Furious, I leapt to my feet and defiantly shook my fists at the latino lawn mowing monsters.

"YE SHALL NOT PASS!!!!!" I roared.

Paralyzed with fear, they stopped the Lawnmower of Death about six inches from my Birkenstocks and stomped off. They returned minutes later with the head groundskeeper, who could have passed for a Scotsman if he had been wearing a kilt and wasn't Chinese.

"I'm sick of chasing you hippies out of here!" he yelled at us angrily. "One of these days, you're going to pick the wrong mushroom and kill yourselves, and I'm the one who is going to get sued!"

"Peace be upon you, Earth Brother," I greeted him. "But we are not picking mushrooms. Today is Earth Day, and we have come together in fellowship and prayer. You are welcome to join us, if you like."

"Prayer?" he snorted. "This is city property! You can't pray here!"

"Worry not, Earth Brother," I assured him. "for it is not a Christian prayer. We're praying for peace and love, not war and hate."

"Doesn't matter," he snapped. "Religious activities of any kind are not permitted on city property!"

"Since when?" I asked, incredulous.

"Since this Lawrence Chomstein asshole threatened the city council with legal action if they didn't enforce the Constitutional Separation Between Church and State."

I threw my dreamcatcher to the ground. "THAT WAS FOR NATIVITY SCENES, YOU INTOLERANT BASTARD!!!"

"Nativity scenes, prayer circles. Religious activities are religious activites," he replied. "Now pick up your dreamcatchers, your bongo drums, and your pretty purple rocks and get out of here before I call the cops!"

"The cops?" Jerry in Accounts Receivable whined. "What for? I didn't do anything! I'm not with these people? I don't even know this guy!"

Somewhere in the distance, a rooster crowed.

We spent the remainder of our lunch break at Taco Bell, shovelling 79 cent tacos down our gullets and cursing George W. Bush for ruining yet another Earth Day.